Hear from a Young Person
I am twenty-three, so I will turn 80 in 2073, by which time there will have been almost 20 elections. I know that a lot can change in 60 years, and I also know that the trajectories we set today are going to be a major factor in the way this country runs in the future.
The idea of legalising euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide scares me. It frightens me when I think that in half a century's time, I could be facing a decision over whether to end my own life. It frightens me that I could ever have that power granted to me legally, let alone that somebody else might participate in the act. It also frightens me that, whether subtly or overtly, my family may pressure me to choose death because of the burden I become to them, or that my own guilt for the resources I'm taking from society could be a factor in my decision to be killed.
I don't want this decision.
I can't make rational decisions about major life decisions now as a 23 year old. I always find I think that I know more than I do, and I know that if I had to make a decision about my own life there's no way that I could make it rationally. The thought that I may be forced to is made even more worrisome by the fact that I would be struggling with physical, emotional and mental stress. Please don't give me this responsibility.
There is a lot of talk about a "right to [die]" granting us dignity, but in reality, I believe it has the exact opposite effect. Giving citizens of New Zealand the ability to choose death over life inherently devalues the lives we have. The worst part is that while it devalues us all, it doesn't devalue us all equally. The disabled and elderly, those to whom this option is available, are sent the clear message that their lives aren't as important to us as others. This is not progressive society, it's barbaric.
It makes no sense that we should be trying to keep our citizens alive by having laws preventing murder and running suicide prevention programs, whilst in the next breath we are allowing an act which is both murder and suicide. Either life is worth preserving or it's not. What do we believe as a country?
Please don't allow legislation to be passed that would give me the ability to choose my fate when I am at the end of my life. I don't want to spend my final days feeling guilty about taking up space.